Joe Dineen Jr., earns 2018 Senior CLASS First-Team All-America honors
Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., was one of five NCAA® Football Bowl Subdivision student-athletes selected Wednesday as a 2018 Senior CLASS Award® First-Team All-American. Dineen is Kansas’ first Senior CLASS Award honoree in football since JaCorey Shepherd earned Second-Team All-American honors in 2014.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
Dineen led the Big 12 Conference in tackles for the second-consecutive year—just the second player in conference history to do so joining Texas Tech’s Lawrence Flugence (2001, 2002, 2003). Dineen turned in a career-best 147 tackles, which ranks sixth on KU’s single-season chart. His 12.3 stops per game in 2018 also ranks fourth in the FBS.
For the second-straight season, Dineen also led the FBS and the Big 12 Conference in solo tackles with 108 during his senior campaign. Dineen collected 11 tackles-for-loss in 2018, giving him a KU-record 45.5 in his career, making him both the single-season TFL record-holder (25.0 in 2017) and career record-holder. Additionally, Dineen’s 391 career-tackles rank fourth in Kansas history.
Dineen was honored by the league coaches as a first-team member for the first time in his career after earning All-Big 12 Second Team honors in 2017. He was tabbed Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week twice during his senior season. Dineen was a Jason Witten Man of the Year semifinalist and a Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalist after picking up its weekly award one time this season and being a weekly award nominee three other weeks. He was named Midseason First Team All-America by Sports Illustrated, an Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree and a finalist for the Pop Warner Little Scholars Collegiate Player of the Year.
The Lawrence, Kansas native earned his bachelor’s degree in management and leadership with an entrepreneurship concentration in May 2018. Dineen earned Academic All-Big 12 First Team honors in 2018 and is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 Second Team honoree, an Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team award winner and he also earned Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and KU Athletics Director’s Honor Roll four times during his KU career.
Dineen is one of just three players in Kansas’ 128 years of football to be voted a team captain three times. He has been named a team captain in each of the last three seasons and has also been selected to represent the Jayhawks at Big 12 Media Days in each of those same three seasons.
On top of all of his athletic and academic achievements, Dineen has been very active in numerous community service initiatives across the Lawrence community, including being on the KU football Team Impact Leadership Team and serving as a mentor for Tayber Witt. In addition, he has played a large role in KU football’s elementary school reading program, children’s football clinics, Special Olympics football clinics and feeding the homeless with JustFood, but he really found his passion raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer research. He has been involved in numerous events and activities related to raising awareness for childhood cancer awareness in and around Lawrence and Kansas City.
Dineen has also been tabbed as a quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and is is being considered for the Bednarik Award for the national defensive player of the year. in addition, he is Kansas’ nominee for the AFCA Good Works Team (community service) and Wuerffel Trophy (community service).
West Virginia’s Will Grier was tabbed as the 2018 Senior CLASS Award winner, while Hale Hentges of Alabama, Dalton Risne rof Kansas State and Christian Wilkins of Clemson joined Dineen and Grier as First-Team All-Americans.